Stella-Jones Reports 2017 Second Quarter Results

- Sales of $594.2 million, up 5.5% from $563.1 million a year ago- Operating income of $74.5 million, compared with $83.2 million in the prior year- Net income of $48.9 million, versus $54.7 million last year- Diluted EPS of $0.71, compared with $0.79 a year ago

/EINPresswire.com/ -- MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Aug 9, 2017) - Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) ("Stella-Jones" or the "Company") today announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2017.

"Stella-Jones generated solid operating results in the second quarter. This performance was driven by higher railway tie volume stemming from earlier than expected deliveries for certain orders, partially offsetting the impact of lower year-over-year pricing in this product category. In addition, healthy demand in the utility pole category reflects sales synergies stemming from Stella-Jones' expansion in the southeastern United States over the past two years," said Brian McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Financial highlights Quarters ended June 30, Six-months ended June 30,
(in millions of Canadian dollars, except per share data) 2017 2016 2017 2016
Sales 594.2 563.1 991.2 984.0
Operating income 74.5 83.2 115.3 137.8
Net income for the period 48.9 54.7 74.8 89.7
Per share - basic and diluted ($) 0.71 0.79 1.08 1.30
Weighted average shares outstanding (basic, in '000s) 69,322 69,185 69,314 69,162

SECOND QUARTER RESULTS

Sales reached $594.2 million, up 5.5% from $563.1 million last year. Acquisitions contributed sales of approximately $16.0 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, Stella-Jones' reporting currency, versus the U.S. dollar, had a positive impact of $16.9 million on the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales. Excluding these factors, sales decreased marginally by $1.8 million, or 0.3%.

Railway tie sales amounted to $214.2 million, compared with sales of $216.3 million in last year's second quarter. Excluding the conversion effect, railway tie sales decreased approximately $10.4 million, or 4.8%, as lower pricing was partially offset by increased volume due to the early delivery of certain tie orders.

Utility pole sales reached $167.5 million in the second quarter of 2017, representing an increase of 17.3% over sales of $142.8 million a year ago. Excluding the contribution from acquisitions and the currency conversion effect, sales increased approximately $3.7 million, or 2.6%, reflecting organic sales growth in the southeastern United States.

Sales in the residential lumber category remained relatively stable, reaching $153.2 million in the second quarter of 2017, versus $152.1 million a year earlier. This stability reflects higher selling prices due to increased untreated lumber costs, offset by lower volumes as a result of less favourable weather in Canada during the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year.

Industrial product sales reached $27.1 million, essentially stable in comparison with $27.0 million a year ago. Excluding the contribution from acquisitions and the currency conversion effect, sales decreased 5.0% mainly due to lower sales of marine pilings in Canada and lower sales of rail-related products. Logs and lumber sales amounted to $32.2 million, versus $24.8 million in the second quarter of last year. The variation reflects the timing of lumber purchase and resale activities as well as the timing of timber harvesting.

Operating income stood at $74.5 million, or 12.5% of sales, compared with $83.2 million, or 14.8% of sales in the second quarter of the previous year. The decrease in absolute dollars and as a percentage of sales essentially reflects lower selling prices for railway ties and a less favourable geographical mix in the utility pole category.

Net income for the second quarter of 2017 was $48.9 million, or $0.71 per diluted share, versus $54.7 million, or $0.79 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2016.

SIX-MONTH RESULTS

For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, sales amounted to $991.2 million, versus $984.0 million for the corresponding period a year earlier. Acquisitions contributed sales of $38.8 million, while the currency conversion effect had a positive impact of $5.6 million on the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales. Excluding these factors, sales decreased approximately $37.3 million, or 3.8%.

Operating income reached $115.3 million, or 11.6% of sales, compared with $137.8 million, or 14.0% of sales, last year. Net income totalled $74.8 million, or $1.08 per diluted share, versus $89.7 million, or $1.30 per diluted share, in the prior year.

SOLID FINANCIAL POSITION

As at June 30, 2017, the Company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $615.8 million compared with $698.5 million three months earlier. The decrease mainly reflects a solid cash flow generation during the quarter as well as the effect of local currency translation on U.S. dollar denominated long-term debt. As at June 30, 2017, Stella-Jones' total debt to total capitalization ratio was 0.37:1, down from 0.40:1 three months earlier.

QUARTERLY DIVIDEND OF $0.11 PER SHARE

On August 8, 2017, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.11 per common share payable on September 22, 2017 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 1, 2017.

OUTLOOK

"As previously anticipated, we expect higher year-over-year sales in the second half of 2017 when compared to the previous year. While higher railway tie volume will be offset by lower pricing, a return to normal maintenance demand patterns and improving demand for special projects should result in higher year-over-year sales in the utility pole category. However, overall operating margins will remain affected by soft railway tie pricing and a less favourable geographical sales mix for utility poles. Stella-Jones remains committed to maximizing operating efficiencies and minimizing costs throughout the organization, while continuing to study any expansion opportunity that offers strategic value in our main product categories to the benefit of our shareholders," concluded Mr. McManus.

CONFERENCE CALL

Stella-Jones will hold a conference call to discuss these results on August 9, 2017, at 10:00 AM Eastern Time. Interested parties can join the call by dialing 1-647-788-4922 (Toronto or overseas) or 1-877-223-4471 (elsewhere in North America). Parties unable to call in at this time may access a recording by calling 1-800-585-8367 and entering the passcode 36864185. This recording will be available on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 as of 1:00 PM Eastern Time until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

NON-IFRS FINANCIAL MEASURES

Operating income is a financial measure not prescribed by IFRS and is not likely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. Management considers this non-IFRS measure to be useful information to assist knowledgeable investors regarding the Company's financial condition and results of operations as it provides an additional measure of its performance.

ABOUT STELLA-JONES

Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) is a leading producer and marketer of pressure treated wood products. The Company supplies North America's railroad operators with railway ties and timbers, and the continent's electrical utilities and telecommunication companies with utility poles. Stella-Jones also manufactures and distributes residential lumber and accessories to retailers for outdoor applications, as well as industrial products for construction and marine applications. The Company's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Except for historical information provided herein, this press release may contain information and statements of a forward-looking nature concerning the future performance of the Company. These statements are based on suppositions and uncertainties as well as on management's best possible evaluation of future events. Such factors may include, without excluding other considerations, fluctuations in quarterly results, evolution in customer demand for the Company's products and services, the impact of price pressures exerted by competitors, the ability of the Company to raise the capital required for acquisitions, and general market trends or economic changes. As a result, readers are advised that actual results may differ from expected results.

Note to readers: Condensed interim unaudited consolidated financial statements for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 are available on Stella-Jones' website at www.stella-jones.com.

Source:
Stella-Jones Inc.
Eric Vachon, CPA, CA
Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer
(514) 940-3903
evachon@stella-jones.com
Martin Goulet, CFA
MaisonBrison Communications
(514) 731-0000
martin@maisonbrison.com

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